Chickens hiding, feathers everywhere, none dead!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by namastechick, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. namastechick

    namastechick Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, so this is my first post and my first time having chickens. I have 4 golden comet pullets and decided to leave them in their coop/run for 3 weeks before we started to free range them. On the Friday at of the end of the 4th week I let them out around noon as I did the other days and I went back inside the house to work. I checked on them several times during the day and noticed they have been getting more comfortable going further away from the coop and going just into the perimeter of the woods (about 150ft from the coop). I was in my house and my dog Neala heard something outside and she started freaking out in the house, so I went right outside. Neala was very anxious to run after something which is not normal for her. I could hear a cat-like yowl like it is in heat. I have heard this noise a few days before, but did not think to much of it. All I knew was I could not find my chickens. My husband came into the driveway a few moments after so he went for his gun and started helping me look. I soon found Crooked Toe underneath the green bin and I thought for sure she was dead. She was not moving and there was feathers every where. I was too scared to look closer. I walked away thinking I lost her. I told my stepson to have a look and he yelled to me that she was moving. I yelled to my husband and walked back over to her to see how she was. She was fine and was walking around after being huddled under the green bin. I was able to get her and take her back to the coop kissing her and hugging her all the way. Thankful she was alive. I went back looking for the others. My husband found Big Hen huddled underneath the brush further into the woods. He could not even see her. He actually walked on her side. He thought he hurt her because she let out an awful screech. We were able to wrangle her as well and I took her back to the coop kissing her and hugging her on the way. I was so happy that I had two alive. I went back searching and it was getting to be dusk. I was running out of time. I was on the verge of tears and walking through the woods calling them and nothing. I went through some thick brush and got the bruises to prove it now lol I ended up giving up and went back to the house to look at our security camera to see if I could find anything. As I went for my cell phone to log in I could see Whitey and Beaker running down the yard towards the coop! I could not believe it! I was soooo relieved!!!

    I am still at a loss as to what happened as all my darlings are fine. Even Big Hen as she was walked on my my hubby. He felt so bad, but she was never hurt.....I think her feelings were hurt more as she was a little timid the next few days towards us and stayed in the coop. She is now fine and came out of the coop into the run. I am terrified to let them out now. I cannot fathom what it was or if it was anything. I do not understand where the feathers would have come from or why they were hiding like they were. Something had to scare them.

    I am not sure if it matters to mention this, but our neighbors also have chickens....about 20 of them and they have had no issues with predators since they have had chickens (about 1yr). They are 1200ft away from us.

    Can anyone give us any idea what might have happened? Some thoughts are a feral cat (we do have some around, but they only show up at night), the green bin fell and scared them or they decided to break out in a fight lol My neighbor had let me know that he has seen Bobcat around, but that was over a year ago now. We do have coyotes, but we do not see them come close to the house. We do have bald eagles and I am worried about that, but that does not make any sense with the all the loss of feathers.

    Thanks!
     
  2. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Could you identify the feathers as belonging to any of your chickens? I mean, were they missing any or did it look like theirs? We've had bobcat attacks here, and there are always feathers all over the place...
     
  3. KGreene

    KGreene Out Of The Brooder

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    The fact that you haven't seen any predators in a while doesn't mean they're not around and, the fact that your neighbor hasn't had any issues doesn't indicate that predators haven't tried. I had seen one coyote around my house in 10 years, but once I began raising chickens again, a PACK of those varmints wiped out 8 of 9 on one afternoon. A coon got the remaining one the next night. Needless to say, I have now constructed Fort Cluck.... But the critters are still trying!

    Given that the attack took place during daylight hours, my guess would be either coyotes, bobcat, dog or cat. Either way, they'll be back (among others) now that they're aware of a potential food source. If your dog gets along with the chicks, I'd suggest allowing him/her to be out when the chickens are out. And, ensure that your coop/run is critter proofed. Coons typically do their hunting at night, and they are persistent and very capable of breaching any chinks in your armor.


    Just my two cents worth. Good luck.
     
  4. namastechick

    namastechick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks guys for the quick reply! I definitely know the feathers were the chickens even though it looks like they are not missing any at all. I assume it was from Crooked Toe because she was right beside the feathers, but dug underneath the green bin.

    I think I am going to leave them in their coop for a while until I get the nerve to let them out with me being around. I hear the suggestion of Neala being out there with the chickens as she does get along well with them, but knowing that their might be a predator out there I would not allow her to stay outside now by herself. She is my furry baby and she is only a Westie so she is too small even though she thinks she is not.....the chickens are now my feather babies lol

    We do have racoons around here, but again never see them. Mostly the feral cats. I have not seen any sign of anything trying to get into the coop or run yet, but some other folks had told us there are weasels around and that might be a possibility. I am still baffled over the sound of a feral cat in heat right after all the commotion from Neala (my dog). We did keep hearing it when we were listening for the chickens. I started to think that they were making the noise lol Obviously not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Keep your birds in their (I hope!) predator proof coop and run for a while, and set up live traps 24/7, with different baits. Try cat food, grain, and fruit. Shoot any predators that you trap. Hawks will loose interest if your birds are unavailable for a while. Feral cats may or may not attack large birds, but certainly may take younger/ smaller birds. Friendly feral cats can go to the local rescue or humane society. Mary
     

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